Sorry this is long. This is the story of the life and death of my furry family member. She passed away around 1am this morning, and i'm completely broken.
Zoey wasn't the dog i chose to have, but rather the dog who got stuck with me. I was never a small dog person, one of my cousins had a Jack Russell Terrier also and I found her dog to be "too crazy" for my liking. Yet little Zoey grew on me and eventually we became best buds.
Zoey was originally purchased by a family friend for his daughter who at the time was a toddler.When he divorced his first wife, and moved to a place where he couldn't have a dog, Zoey was given to my child's father. She was about six when i met Kiddo's dad. We moved in together, dog and all.
When my daughter was born Zoey was her fierce protector and best friend from day 1. Some say that Jack's aren't good with kid's, and Zoey had her limits about how much ear and tail pulling she could take, but dog and child got along pretty well. When my kiddo was a baby zoey would always sleep next to the crib. If she didn't like you, you weren't getting anywhere near the baby.
When Kiddo's dad and I split, he moved and couldn' take his dog, so Zoey stayed with me and my daughter. He of course promised as soon as he could rent a place that allowed dogs he would come for her, and of course that never happened. So she became my dog.
Her nickname was Rat Dog, and she lived up to that name. Mouse in the house? She'd get it. Groundhog hole? She was going down it. Once she had to be dug out, because she got stuck down a groundhog hole. She tried to take down a wild turkey one day, but that was one battle she didn't win. Of course there was also the night of the bat, when one somehow got into my house. She jumped up and snatched it out of midair. Thank goodness the bat didn't have rabies!
She was very mischevious, and could easily clear the 5 foot fence around the yard. Once she couldnt jump that high any longer, she learned to climb chainlink. I lost count of how many times she found a way out of the yard and took off down the road with my running after her hollering for her to "Get back here".
Rat Dog got into EVERYTHING. Like a cat, she had staff. She saw herself as the Queen of our universe and demanded every whim of hers be fulfilled accordingly. The only person she ever was obedient for was my child's dad. No matter how i tried to exert dominance over her, her attitude to me was always "Screw you, now rub my tummy."
She'd get into the trash every time i went to work. She stole food, not even waiting til you werent looking. Zoey would jump right up and snatch it out of your hand. She once stole a king crab leg from Kiddo's dad, according to her she had gotten it fair and square. When he tried to get it back, she bit him, picked the crab leg back up and took off.
Zoey had more lives than a cat. She survived getting hit by a car on one of her escape attempts. She ate an entire box of chocolates and lived to tell. She ingested almost an entire pack of sugar free gum, and survived that too. There is nothing i can find that shows a 12lb dog should have lived after eating that amount of any of those things. If it was supposedly poisonous to dogs, she would find a way to get at it.
She chewed my pillows. She ate kiddo's crayons and pooped rainbows. She refused to come in from outside unles you offered her a treat. If you took a bath, she'd jump in the tub. If she was mad at you, she'd pee on your stuff.
If i were on the phone or playing videogames on Xbox with my friends she'd get up on my lap and go nuts until you quit and went back to giving her attention. One of my friends started calling her Pig Dog because the little squealing noises she'd make when she wanted me to stop playing games sounded like a pig squealing. She'd sit on my lap, and try to prevent me from using the controller. If i were on my laptop she'd climb onto th keyboard.
That dog drove me NUTS but she was my baby, and i loved her to pieces.
I'd come home from work and she'ed come tearing through the house like "I"M SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU" then she'd hit the linoleum floor of the kitchen and slide into my feet.
I'm hearing impaired, and she became my ears, always alerting me to anything going on outside right up til the very end.
If I or Kiddo were sick, she played Nurse Zoey. She would lay with you while you were in bed, curled up tight against you even if you were burning with fever. And she'd just lay, and not beg to be played with, or put out, or be fed. She'd stay right there, not leaving your side until you felt better.
If I was feeling sad, she'd let me hold her tightly and cry, or try to lick the tears away. She loved to lick to "give kisses" especially to Kiddo. She always seemed to know and be understanding if you were feeling down.
Rat Dog slept with me every night. She always wanted the warm spot that my body heat would create on the mattress. She would get up right against me and push, trying to get me to move over. I have a king size bed, but somehow every night i got relegated to the edge.
Countless hours were spent rubbing her tummy. She LOVED tummy rubs. If you stopped, she'd try to catch your hand with her front paws and put it back where it was. I'd always try to find her "sweet spot" that got her back right leg going, and she'd give me this look like "Not this crap again."
Zoey had as many expressions as people do I think. We'd make up voices for her and try to say what we figured she must be thinking.
she loved to play, as all dogs do. I think keep away was her favorite. You'd throw her a ball and she'd bring it back to about a foot away from you. When you'd go to grab it, she'd dodge, then come back to you. Rinse and repeat. We're lucky to have a dog friendly park just around the corner from my house. So we would take her and run her around the huge field there. For the longest time she'd be ahead, pulling at the leash. And then the years passed, and she slowed down to being at my side, and eventually falling behind.
All these years of play, and sleep and walks, and escapes from the yard passed and suddenly she was 18 years old and my daughter was just turning 10 this past December. It was around then that Zoey had her first seizure. I thought it was the end at that time. it really scared me.
She had followed me into the bathroom as was usual. I could not pee in private, she would always run in there and not get out. So at some point, I just gave up. It was this morning I was in the bathroom and she just keeled over. She went stiff and let out this really strange long howl. I thought it was the end, that she was going to drop dead right there.
Then she got up, looked kind of confused, but went back to her usual rat dog stuff.
Zoey started to slow down more, sleep a lot more. Then we found some little tumors. I talked to Kiddo's Dad since she had been his dog too, and we decided on no surgery due to her very old age, but to concentrate on keeping her comfortable. She started to have a seizure about once every two weeks.
Still throughout this she seemed to be pain free. Still loved to play, and run around outside, and steal food. She never stopped eating or drinking.
At christmas she always opened her own gifts. She was excited as ever and we got through the holidays just fine.
She turned 19 at the end of January. We had a 30" snowstorm just before then and she loved being out in it, making rat dog sized tunnels through the snow.
One of her tumors had really started to grow, but it didn't seem to bother her. It was up until yesterday that nothing really seemed too much different for her. Then Sunday morning she didn't look well. She went out first thing in the morning, and ate and drank but you could see it in her eyes that something was wrong.
She was very needy for attention and wanted to be held or kept very close while she napped. She got up a couple times to go out. She had a barking contest with the neighbors german shepherd as per usual. But she seemed to be struggling a bit.
We decided to take her to the park, i thought at first that because she was so old now she could just be having an "off day" and maybe the walk would perk her up. She seemed excited when I got the leash, and kiddo clipped it on, but by the time we made it to the end of the street she seemed very tired. She wanted to sniff at things, but eventually just stopped and stood there.
So I had Kiddo give me the leash and I picked her up and carried her to the park. We took her around to the different trees and to the woods and I'd set her down so she could sniff. She didn't seem to care. It was the park and my furbaby just looked miserable. I took out my phone and started snapping as many photos as I could of Kiddo and the dog together. By this time I was starting to get that gut feeling that something was horribly wrong.
We came home and she had a drink then curled up with my daughter under a blanket on the couch. I took the last photo i'd ever get of them snuggled together. She stayed there until dinner. I told Kiddo I did not think the dog had very much time left, and that if this were her last meal she was going to have all the people junk food she could ever want.
So we ordered out, and Zoey got excited about the food. We gave her french fries (her favorite!), a pierogie, and some chicken. For dessert we let her have a big spoonful of peanut butter. That seemed to perk her up a bit and I started to wonder if my earlier sense of dread had been wrong. She went back to sleep on the couch next to Kiddo after dinner.
Shortly before kiddo's bedtime she had a seizure. It had been two weeks, the usual interval since the previous one, so it wasn't unexpected. It was short, but she seemed really unhappy again after it. I gave her some pain medication and she went back to sleep. I told Kiddo that first thing in the morning I would call the vet because I thought it was finally time for her to go. She had gone downhill so fast in the space of a day, and I didn't want her to keep suffering.
Kiddo told me she understood and that she wanted to come along for the final trip to the vet. So she went to bed and I made the dog a little nest out of my favorite blanket and a pillow. We sat there for hours through the evening with me just petting her. She looked unhappy at the points where she was awake, but not in severe distress.
Near 1am she got up and went to the back door so i opened it to let her out. She fell out the door and had another seizure. She couldn't get up this time at all. As I picked her up, she went limp in my arms. I thought that she'd passed as i brought her in and laid her on the very soft blanket, but she hadn't. As I went to get the number for the emergency vet and to wake up my daughter, She seized again. So i ran back to her and kept petting her gently. I told her it was time for her to go and that it was OK, and that we loved her. Then she passed in the next few seconds.
We buried her this morning under a big pine tree with her favorite ball.
I feel pretty awful that I somehow missed that her time to go was that iminent and that we should have taken her to the vet early on in the evening, but there was no super severe warning sign until it was too late.
She was my buddy, my best friend, my kid's best friend and we will miss her always. :(